What This Blog Is About

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For six years, I’ve been giving advice to women about understanding men and making healthy choices that lead to successful long-term relationships.

Every month, I get hundreds of questions from around the world. I choose to answer one per week on Monday mornings.

As you can imagine, the questions I choose are not generally ones where the original poster has it all figured out. The questions I choose are inherently ones where the OP has some sort of blind spot that she’s too close to see. If she didn’t have a blind spot, there wouldn’t be very much for me to write about, now would there?

So, if the questions I take are carefully selected to maximize the value of my advice – because validation doesn’t make for interesting reading – it should be somewhat predictable that my answers are often going to challenge the premise of the woman in question.

And if you’ve been reading awhile, you know that these answers fall into largely two broad camps:

1) Dump him
2) Accept him

My advice is ALWAYS going to tell the woman to stay or go. What it’s never going to do is tell the MAN (who did not ask the original question) what HE should be doing differently.

I have never, ever gotten any criticism upon telling a woman to dump a man. I’m not particularly surprised by this, first and foremost, because I think I give sound, logical advice. If a woman is being objectively mistreated, if a woman has spent a year as a booty call and is waiting for a commitment, if a woman is with a man who never wants to have sex with her, etc, the best thing for all parties to do is move along. Comments on these posts tend to be of the “Right on, Evan! Way to tell her to get rid of the bad guy!” variety. I sincerely appreciate the positive feedback and promise to continue helping women identify the bad men in their lives and cut them loose.

It’s the second category of advice upon which I get a considerable amount of blowback in the comments section. This continues to confuse me.

If I tell a woman to accept her man as he is…

Do you think I suddenly forgot how to give good advice?
Do you think I suddenly became a clueless, insensitive, misogynist who blindly defends all men?

I would think you’d concede that the reason I’m telling her to accept him is for a more practical reason: It’s the best available advice.

Let’s remember what the mandate of this blog is. I am a very experienced and devoted dater, blogger, coach, and husband who tries to explain why men do what they do and what you can do to better understand and connect with them. As such, my advice is ALWAYS going to tell the woman to stay or go. What it’s never going to do is tell the MAN (who did not ask the original question) what HE should be doing differently.

A question about the boyfriend who never calls will not be answered with “He should call more”.
A question about the guy who only texts will not be answered with “He should prefer the phone”.
A question about the guy who hasn’t proposed in five years will not be answered with “He should want to get married”.

Such answers are nothing more than validation for the original poster. It doesn’t teach her anything. Not about herself. Not about men. It’s not just poor reading, but it’s bad advice as well. As I’ve reiterated for six years on this blog, you have largely two choices with men: accept him or leave him. When he’s a bad guy, I say leave him.

The problem arises when you THINK men are “bad” when they’re NOT bad.

And how do I know they’re not bad? Because you’re describing ME. Devoted husband and father. Believer in equal rights. Advocate for women for ten years plus.

So when you go to my comments to tell me that my advice to the OP should be how her BOYFRIEND should change (even though that’s never what this blog is about), you’re pretty much telling me that I should change. And you know what? I went on 300 dates with women who told me that I should change. The woman I married is the one who accepts me as I am and sees me as honest, loyal, hardworking, ethical and noble. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is how EVERY man wants to feel with his wife.

But very few of men get this experience. Why? Because even sound, commonsense advice to women about accepting men gets twisted in the comments into “Why MEN have to change”.

Understand, if I had a blog devoted to turning boys into men (and oh, I could), my advice would be completely different. Men would ask me if they were being insensitive to their girlfriends by only texting them once a week and I would say, “Yes. Yes you are. If you really care about her, let her know she’s special. And if that takes five minutes at the end of the night to call her and say you love her, that’s all you need to do.” Hell, I HAVE written that here before. But this is not a blog for men. This is a blog for women. And I have no idea what there is to learn if women are never wrong and it’s always incumbent on men to change to cater to your every sensitivity. If you feel a certain way, that feeling needs to be validated. That’s simply not true. No more than it is if he tells you what you should wear to a club, which of your friends you’re “allowed” to see, or how much time you’re permitted to spend away from him.

Every man EVERYWHERE – alpha or beta, tall or short, rich or poor – wants a woman to accept him as he is.

Remember, you applaud me when I tell women to dump men. You criticize me when I tell women to learn to accept men. That’s hypocrisy. Same as it would be if I were a coach for men who told them that women were always the problem and that women needed to change.

This brings me to my final point – a pithy thing I wrote on Twitter the other day – “The key to healthy relationships: men have to become more sensitive, women have to become less sensitive.” I immediately got a reply on Twitter that told me I was sexist. Ha. If the comments section of this blog is any indication, my tweet is as close to true as we’re going to get.

I 100% believe that men should SHOULD be more sensitive: call more, listen more, help more, make women feel safer, allude to a future, and do everything to make you feel loved and valued. I’m a coach for women. You DESERVE a man who does these things. I routinely tell women to break up with men who don’t exhibit this behavior.

At the same time, women really need to not let their insecurities affect the relationship. If you’re insecure about your body and he looks at Playboy, he’s not doing something wrong. If you’ve been cheated on before and he’s friends with his ex-girlfriend, he’s not doing something wrong. If you have a ticking clock, and he’s not sure he wants to marry you after a year, he’s not doing something wrong. My advice to insecure women is ALWAYS going to be for you to curb your insecurity instead of forcing him to change for you.

I’ve heard enough from commenters who dissent, who suggest that their boyfriends MAKE them insecure. If you have a boyfriend who MAKES you insecure, he’s either a) a guy you should immediately dump, or b) a perfectly normal guy with a very insecure girlfriend.

I’ve been the perfectly normal guy with the insecure girlfriend who freaked out if I talked to a checkout girl in a grocery store or to a pair of women at a party. She broke up with me three times in six months, even though I was completely devoted to her. Many readers would suggest that it would be MY job to change, to assuage her insecurities. But that would mean that I’d have to walk on eggshells for my entire life, in fear that I would inadvertently hurt her. The last time she broke up with me – and came back to reconcile – I told her it was over. She could find a guy who she trusts (even though I was completely trustworthy) and I would find a woman who didn’t want to change me so much.

Now that I have, I feel like I’ve seen the light.

Every man EVERYWHERE – alpha or beta, tall or short, rich or poor – wants a woman to accept him as he is. And as long as he is relationship-oriented, treats you with kindness and consistency, and is largely doing his best to please you, the most POWERFUL thing you can do is to accept him, in full.

If you do, you’ll be the first to do so, and the last woman he’ll ever want to be with.

But if you are the woman who writes in my comments section that the best advice for women is to tell MEN to change, you will find fewer and fewer men who feel they can be themselves around you due to your sensitivities, which will only reinforce your beliefs that men are jerks and players. Except it’s not remotely true.

We just want a partner who doesn’t want to change us.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    Mimi

    Evan, I have been reading your blog and emails for almost two years now.   I have to say, without a doubt, YOU are the reason why the quality of my dates has been steadily improving.   Sure, I STILL make dating mistakes, but at least, because of you, I am learning from those mistakes. Thank you!

  2. 22
    Sparkling Emerald

    Well, I just bought some of EMK’s material.  
    I changed my profile per his suggestions, and WOW, what a difference it made.  
    A 57 year old, married twice, currently separated, is not the most sought after category, but after I changed my profile, I got lots more e-mails from guys who actually wanted to meet me in person, and not these marathon go nowhere e-mail exchanges.
    And now the men who contact me, don’t just say stuff about my looks, they really PRAISE my profile.   One told me he could tell I was really smart and that he “wouldn’t be able to pull anything over on me”.   Others say they LOVED my sense of humor, and others have said they can tell that I am a kind person. I have a 3rd date with someone who told my that my profile was EXCELLENT and the BEST he has seen on POF.   Funny, I used to use a list of adjectives to describe myself (booooooooooring), now I leave the adjectives out, and just SHOW these qualities in my profile.
    Now I have a different problem, I have hidden both my profiles, from having too many men to juggle.   I have become the disappearing woman to some.   (I feel bad saying that, but at least now I understand why men disappear online)
    Problem is, I haven’t finished ALL of the material, and I feel like I got on an airplane, after only having read the part about how to take off, and now I’m flying high and don’t know how to land.  
    This weekend, I am going to go through EMK’s material, so I’ll know how to land this plane 🙂

  3. 23
    Theresa Haupl

    A man who loves a woman truly and deeply will “change” for her in certain ways if there are things that make her distinctly unhappy or frustrated but the all over relationship is excellent.   (I.e. his traveling often for business and deciding to take her along from time to time where possible; or his watching pornographic movies and deciding to curb it a bit for her sake).
    In the right relationship, the other person inspires you to become a better person.   In the right relationship you are constantly thinking of ways to improve yourself that you are ever more attractive.
    I am quite uncomfortable with the whole   “I am me and that’s that, babe” attitude, whether from a man or for a woman. YES, you accept the person for what they are in terms of personality quirks, temperament, idiosyncracies and all the quirky things that define individuality and talent.   For example, if EMK is “moody” or “touchy” , that comes with the territoriy of his being a writer, a counselor; of giving advice that is sensitive-controversial in nature; of having to swim through mounds of letters describing irrational behaviors in relationships in order to offer sane advice.   So his “temper” in this respect should be accepted.
    However, when it comes to things like–for example–his wife “having” to put up with flirtations with the girl at the pool party, or his possibly keeping nude photos of an ex (again, using an example from a recent post) or keeping friendships with many exes….there can be a problem here.   No one is totally secure.   Even the most self assured man or woman can be thrown off by insecurity and anxiety…why feed into it?   So yes, there are times when “I am cool with it”   is just not cool at all, but depressing.   For the rest of it, however, that one must accept the essential personality, nature and style of the person one loves–is spot on.

  4. 24
    Bella

    Evan, you’re one of the good guys. I’m one of the silent majority here, and I  want to say, keep telling us! I love your straightforward, consistent, well-written and very clearly expressed insights into how men, in general, think.  
    Those who are open to change, to recognising what isn’t working in their lives, to creating change for themselves, to experimenting with new ways of relating, get it.   And will get it more thoroughly. Sometimes we do need to hear the same point put in many different ways, with lots of examples of how it works. I am very glad of your advice.
    Now dating again post-divorce, you’ve helped me walk away from men who weren’t going to make me happy, without hanging in there, hoping for change, relying on their potential (and everyone has potential) rather than the reality of now.   Like many women though, I get confused once the oxytocin bonding kicks in with a man. It throws a sparkly veil over the man in question, making it hard to notice and easy to ignore the red flags and warning bells.   But I’m learning. I’m learning that if someone makes me feel bad, that it’s not worth clinging on for the good bits in the relationship.
    Evan’s advice also helped me figure out which of my girlfriends were on my side, and weed out a few of the takers and users there as well. I decided that I would   only have people in my inner circle who were able to listen, support, laugh with me and respect me.   As I do with them.   I want people around me who help me feel my best self – happy and confident, liked and wanted as I am.
    None of us likes it when others try to force change upon us. None of us likes the feeling that we are not accepted by the people in our personal lives.
    We do have the power to say no, to walk away from people and situations that drag us down and make us feel bad.  We can only change ourselves.   
    Thank you Evan, again, for patiently re-inforcing this, over and over. xx

  5. 25
    Robyn

    Evan, you said it right. When push comes to shove, broadly speaking, there are only two viable  options: Accept a man “as is”, or leave.
    Staying in a relationship and praying (or bitching) for a man to change is an option that is available -but it’s unviable (a recipe for unhappiness & misery for both parties involved).
    It’s not that men (or women) are incapable of change. It’s a case of whether they want to / will change – if it is in their best interest to modify their behavior in a particular situation, they will. But they cannot be “forced” or “commanded” to change their behavior.
    Reminds me of the old lightbulb joke: “How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one – but the lightbulb must want to change…”

  6. 26
    Cat

    I do appreciate EMKs advice as well. I read it & take it in as a woman though. I think I would be much better off had I started reading it before I got married though honestly. I love my husband but we went through a lot of stuff that I should not have went through & had I been reading Evan’s advice then, I would have dumped him. So now, I try to accept him for how he is which is hard, especially when we are still building trust. Evan’s moral of the story is women shouldn’t be with men they don’t trust. Period. Before you get to a point where I am, dump him. Then you don’t have to go through all the B.S. I have.   It’s extremely difficult to build trust.

  7. 27
    marymary

    My boyfriend’s  ex was very jealous and  gave him a hard time for being nice to her sister, singing in a mixed choir and talking to a museum coat check girl.  I thought that was ridiculous but I  WAS jumpy that he has quite a few female friends. Checking in here I saw  it’s nothing to be insecure about, and that men can have female friends without being jerks or players.
    My  ex was not faithful and had a lot of female “friends”.   My current boyfriend is NOT that  guy. It would have done be no good to tell my ex to drop his female friends as he wouldn’t have done it, and even if he did it wouldn’t have changed his  fundamental  character.   There is  no point telling my current boyfriend to drop his female friends as he isn’t doing anything wrong and I do trust him.    And I don’t want to boss him about.
    Yes, you might be able to get him to eat more vegetables (success!) but nothing major.     If  he really has a deep flaw (addiction,  cheating, abuse, or just a crap  boyfriend) you cannot make him change.   In fact, sticking around just tells him that’s okay.
    And, in agreement with Kathleen at 19,   my other big takeaway from this blog is that it’s perfectly fine to have a boyfriend that earns less,  

  8. 28
    Julia

    EMK’s dating advice has also changed my life. I might argue with some other commenters but just because I like to argue 😛
      
    Getting to know someone and understanding what you can accept and what’s you can’t is key. From him I learned that some of my boyfriend’s quirks are not a reason to reject him because the man  genuinely  treats me good and I am happy (even when I wish he would get his hair cut several weeks before he does!)
      
    But the key to all of this is knowing yourself and what you  truly  won’t tolerate. Men who don’t treat you well, become exclusive but also don’t have goals that compliment yours in the long term.

  9. 29
    Julia

    *or don’t want to become exclusive

  10. 30
    Sparkling Emerald

    The other side of this ladies, is if a man is constantly trying to change YOU, dump him.   If he doesn’t accept you as you are, DUMP him.   I have sadly seen some of my girlfriends change into a shadow of their former self, trying to please narcissistic control freak men.   If he doesn’t love you for you, dump him.  
    I am not talking about the positive changes we might voluntarily make to become a better partner and a better person in general.   I am talking about change a man may try and force on you, expecting you account to him for your whereabouts 24/7, account for every penny you spend, even tho you work hard for your paycheck, micro-manage your wardrobe, tell you who you can be friends with, etc.  
      

  11. 31
    Karmic Equation

    @Theresa Hapl
      
    “Even the most self assured man or woman can be thrown off by insecurity and anxiety…why feed into it?”
      
    And why should the man or woman’s partner enable the insecurity? The insecure person’s needs doesn’t trump the secure person’s needs. The one who is insecure can either work on becoming more secure or ending the relationship. The other person shouldn’t be required to enable or validate the insecurity.

  12. 32
    LC

    I just think a lot of these women have been so hurt by men, and Evan is just “in the way,” if you know what I mean.   Accepting a man, or leaving him sounds really easy, but it’s not when you’re married, been dating for a while, have children, have time invested, etc.   It’s hard for women, who have a finite amount of reproductive years, to date year after year wishing and hoping to find love.   It take tremendous guts to walk out on a guy that says he loves you, but his actions show you differently.   I know, because I’ve done it before, and I’m one of the single, childless women who keeps going on date after date giving it my best.      So I guess one must find the man that’s willing to make things work, and that’s just not easy these days.

  13. 33
    Karmic Equation

    @Cat
      
    I’m sorry about where you are. Even though you are married, there’s no reason, even if children are involved, that you should stay in an unhappy marriage with no trust. That’s not much of a marriage. Don’t continue to accept an untrustworthy man. Easier said than done, I know. Good luck.
      
    @Sparkling
      
    I’m really sorry you had to witness that. It must have hurt you to see. I understand better now your question in the other thread. It’s one of the ironies, once a woman enters a relationship, then often she puts up with shit she would never have put up with “while dating”. Often that isn’t her fault because many of these types of guys don’t show their true colors until after the “relationship” has started as opposed to “while dating.” And “while dating” she may have dumped good guys for superficial reasons.
      
    I’m mostly in agreement with you. A woman must acknowledge her insecurities. She doesn’t have to like them, she does have to know them and accept the ones she’s ok with and change the ones that are detrimental. THEN if being with a man makes her feel bad about herself, she has to know whether the “feel bad” arises from her insecurities or if the feel bad is actually a driect, wilfull act on the man’s part (if a man stares at a busty woman, and you have small boobs, and you “feel bad” about his staring, that’s an insecurity; if a man belittles your small boobs or suggests you would “look better” if you had a boob job, that’s a problem man).
      
    I hope your friends were able to extricate themselves from those toxic relationships.

  14. 34
    Joe

    Also, the man you’re dating (or a man you’ll date in the future) is not the men you’ve dated in the past, so don’t project your problems with those men on him.

  15. 35
    Flea

    I agree. I’m 32 and never could accept a man the way he was before. I always said, this guy would be perfect if only this or that were different. Now I’ve met a 24 year old man who I absolutely adore! He isn’t perfect, nobody is, but I accept him exactly the way he is. Sometimes I mess up and sometimes he does, but nothing big and we always talk it through and never nag or talk down to each other.  
    It’s a good feeling to just accept someone as they are and love them warts and all. I’m trying to practice this with other people too, my friends, family and kids. I think that looking at the  positives  in people and accepting  their  flaws makes all my relationships better. And if someone in my life is truly toxic or I can’t accept them, then I create distance.  
    You are not a perfect human being, so you are going to be in a relationship with someone else who isn’t perfect. Focus on the positives and be a loving person, you’ll get the same back!

  16. 36
    Tina

    See, people can not change easily even you (me, whoever) want it.
      
    Say, you are an average woman… you can not be 9 on 1-10 scale just because you have make-up or wear beautiful clothes or read ‘National Geographic’ magazine sometimes. Say, you are an average man… you have no ambition and courage then to change anything in your life even if you want it, you are exactly who you are.
      
    No one can escape from themselves anyway, and yes we can change a little, but only a little. So, for me this matter we-to-change-someone-or-ourselves is waste of time.

  17. 37
    Tina

    Only if we want it bad, have strong will and motivation which is a hard task to do, we can change ourselves.

  18. 38
    Nissa

    Evan, I would wholeheartedly agree with you that it never works to change someone else. Either accept that person the way they are (warts and all) or move on to someone who does meet your criteria. If it’s not a dealbreaker, tell your loved one what you would like to have, then drop it. If they don’t do it, it just means they don’t want to do it (true for both men and women).
    I would also agree that it is most effective to focus on where we have the power to make real change:ourselves. If you keep having relationships with terrible people, you have to see that the one thing those relationships have in common is you.

  19. 39
    JoeK

    Thanks Evan!

    (From a man who reads your blog and has learned so very much from it!)

  20. 40
    Cat5

    Karmic Equation @ 6:
    No, you aren’t getting what I said.
      
    I totally agreed with the statement that you can’t change others, so you either accept them or dump them.   Keep it simple.
      
    My point was it is unrealistic to think that when a person (in this case Evan) goes into more detail and provides more and more information and more and more criticism as people ask more and more questions…that person will not get blowback and resistance.   It goes with the terroritory and is old as time itself.   Most people don’t like change, don’t like to think they have to change, and they certainly don’t want to put in the time, self-evaluation,  and hard work it takes to change.
      

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